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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Packing Pause, on to necessary Projects

What a strange feeling it is to walk through the house and see how empty it is getting. A few days ago I had the strange epiphany that "yes, we really are going to move half way across the world to serve the Lord."  That maybe sounds silly because I really have known all along that we are going to go to Australia but somehow as the house empties it just becomes more real.

Yesterday we had some kind folks from Church help us move our second round of packed boxes into storage. It looked like a lot of boxes when they were all stacked in the den but the trailer had room to spare when they were loaded.

Most of the house is now packed. All the pictures are down and packed. The unessential dishes and serving dishes are packed. The folding chairs and tv trays are gone. I think it will take about 2 more times of having help move out our belongings to be done. But before we do too much more packing we will be taking a 'packing pause' to work on some projects.

Most of these projects involve my family history files and binders.  After I receive the rest of the marriage records from Sagard parish for the FREESE surname I need to finish organizing that family before I can pack them away.  I need to scan a lot of old family pictures and get them organized. I need to scan and attach to FamilySearch the source documents that I have for my ancestors. Is there a chance I will find some treasures in the mix? I can only hope. There are many files to be organized before they can be packed. I have a Dropbox account with lots of free space which will save the scans. The photo albums from my mother and Ben and their missions need to be preserved and made available to their posterity. There are the binders I keep with all of the memorabilia from our children, and my many family history binders. It is strange to think of packing away my family history for 2 years since it is such a huge part of my life.

We made a VERY LONG list of things to complete before we are ready to go. I am a list person and it is nice to have things laid out so I can figure when I will accomplish my tasks and not forget anything. Actually I keep remembering more and more items to add to the list. Our finance files need to be purged and our 2016 taxes need to be ready to go. And we need to figure out how to handle some financial matters while we are gone. We hope to be done with all of the projects by the end of September. By the time the projects are complete there will be a whole new set of packed boxes!

Because we misread the email, the training we thought would begin last week will not take place until September. We look forward to really jumping into the material. We miss that we  are not already being trained but realize we already have so much material available to be read and reread. It will be interesting to see how all that we are learning can be implemented into the lives of those with whom we will be working.

As I read more about the "Doctrine of Education" and how it relates to the concept of self-reliance  I marvel at these basic concepts and realize how important it is to help others understand. Here is a quote about education which I really like:

Russell M. Nelson, “Where Is Wisdom?” Ensign. Nov. 1992, 6-8. 
Because of our sacred regard for each human intellect, we consider the obtaining of an education to be a religious responsibility. Yet opportunities and abilities differ. I believe that in the pursuit of education, individual desire is more influential than institution, and personal faith more forceful than faculty. 
Our Creator expects His children everywhere to educate themselves. He issued a commandment: “Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118.) And He assures us that knowledge acquired here will be ours forever. (See D&C 130:18–19.) 
Measured by this celestial standard, it is apparent that those who impulsively “drop out” and cut short their education not only disregard divine decree but frustrate the realization of their own potential. 

I love that last part that suggests we can frustrate the realization of our own potential if we do not keep learning. I am excited to help people learn the importance of education in their lives as it relates to their ability to be self-reliant. As they were growing up I tried to teach our children the importance of opening every door and window available to them as they worked through their education.

There is always so much to learn! Until next time...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

100 Days and counting!

Today marks 100 days until we report at the MTC in Provo, Utah. This a milestone! Yesterday, the 19th, marked 4 months since we received our mission call. With only 100 days to go the time will fly.

On Wednesday our grandson Ethan Jenkins, now Elder Jenkins, reported to the MTC to begin his training for his mission to the Tahiti Pape'ete Mission. He will spend 6 weeks learning French and then 3 weeks learning Tahitian. So great to read his exuberantly joyful letter detailing his first days in the Mission Training Center. If you are interested to learn about his adventures you can check out his blog at 

Here he is in front of the Provo Temple the day he entered the MTC. He was and is so excited for this opportunity to serve the Lord. We look forward to sharing our missionary experiences.

We are making progress with our preparations. 

Today we sent off copies of our new drivers licenses. It was necessary for us to wait for our birthdays and then renew our drivers licenses a year early or they would have expired while we were in Australia. Now we can get the correct permissions to drive all the while we are there.

Our final requirements are the 2 hepatitis shots still remaining  but they are already scheduled for September and October.

The walls of our home are so empty! It is such weird feeling to see bare walls. I miss seeing all of our family pictures. I experienced a lot of nostalgia as I took them down. How I love our family! 

The smaller pictures are all packed. Next week we will pack the big ones. So grateful for all the boxes we have been given. Packing boxes are VERY expensive. Hope to get our dishes packed next week as well. It is beginning to feel real.

Monday afternoon at 5PM our time, which will be Tuesday 10AM Sydney time, we will begin weekly training sessions to help us learn our responsibilities and be 'in the loop  with what is happening. We will be on a Skype call for the training with Elder Leota, who is over the self-reliance program in Melbourne and Sydney. Also attending the training meeting will be the  2 Senior Missionary couples who work in the Melbourne Missions, the Senior Missionary couple assigned to the Sydney South Mission and the Senior Missionary couple from the  Sydney North Mission[this couple will soon be finished their service and we will be their replacements]. I am excited but very intimidated to begin this training. I am certain there will be so much to learn and just hope I am able to learn enough to make a difference when we are there.

So grateful for technology. We can accomplish so much more so much easier that it is fantastic! Have a great week! Yes, I will try harder to report weekly.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

And the beat goes on...

Its been an  interesting week with lots going on. A big thanks to the several young men from church who came over on Wednesday and helped load up all of our packed boxes into a couple of pickups, a van  and a suburban and put them into storage. Our storage will be at our friends' house who have graciously offered a room for us to store our belongings. With those boxes and our futon out of the house  we now have more room to put more packed boxes ;) It is crazy how many boxes are filled with our bits and pieces. I keep hoping we are packing the things we really want to come home to and discarding the things we really don't need.

I began to pack up the wall decorations and little things on shelves. Funny how those things bring back memories. The string of rocks with holes in the middle- a gift from my cousin- when we went to Denmark where I was born. The holes are caused when organic matter is washed out. What fun it was to find them and also various fossils as we walked along the coast on the Island of Mors. Then the carved wooden love spoon from the museum gift shop in Cardiff, Wales when we were learning about my husband's heritage. And the little picture of a tree with all of the leaves made of small pieces of amber given to me by a friend on the Ilse of RĂ¼gen when we explored another of my ancestral homes, and other little things that were gifts from children and grandchildren.

Memories are interesting. My mind was flooded with all kinds of thoughts while packing up the small china tea set that was first my mother's and then mine. The little cream picture that was pieced and glued together long before it was mine, the sugar bowl with the chipped lid, the tea pot and 5 cups and saucers. At one time surely there must have been at least 6 cups and saucers? I remember birthday parties when my friends and I drank Koolaid from those small cups. And that made me think of the birthday cakes with wax paper covered coins randomly secreted under the frosting.

Our little bits and pieces are not of great monetary value but they each represent a small piece of our life.

By the end of August we plan to have almost every non-essential item packed. Bring on the paper plates!

But then there are projects we need to finish before we can really finish packing and move forward:
-A couple of major family history projects to complete.
-Scanning and putting away LOTS and LOTS of family negatives and pictures. How is it possible that we have almost 50 years of photos in boxes and not organized? I just never seemed to have the right equipment or binders or folders and so...
-Writing some more installments for Our Miraculous Journey book which consists of chronological stories of the miracles we have experienced in our lives with our family. We have tried to give our children and grandchildren new stories every year for Christmas but our lives have been so crazy we have skipped the past couple of years so we must write something before we leave on our mission.
-Working in the Vancouver Temple every Friday and trying to attend the temple at least one other day during the week.
-And so on.

When we got our mission call in April it seemed like November 28 was a LONG way off. As is always the case Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need including the best timing. Various things popped up in our life that have required more of our time so it would have been very difficult for us to have left sooner. But I am confident that we will have everything ready for us to leave at our appointed time.

And yes, we are still learning about the Self-Reliance program. It is amazing and can bless so many people's lives. There are so many wonderful things the Church does to help the less fortunate and much of the world does not  really even know about those wonderful things.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Boxes, boxes and more boxes; interesting detours; time out for our reunion...

It has been 3 weeks since I last wrote. I am not exactly sure how so much time passed but pass it did. The days are filled with events that steal our time. We have also experienced a few interesting obstacles. There have been appointments with eye doctors and new glasses ordered, an annoying little tumor that Steve had removed, and a short bout of cellulitis on Liz's arm after a bug bite which was resolved by large quantities of antibiotics. But all is well so on we go.

We have our house full of BOXES!

So grateful for good friends who keep us supplied with so many boxes! Of course our packing is not keeping up with our supply of boxes but we keep at it. The sewing room, the toys, crafts, Christmas decorations are mostly packed. The more we pack the more we see that we still need to pack. Some days are overwhelming but we are getting reacquainted with a lot of items we had not seen in years. A great opportunity to downsize!
But the work goes on with the hope that most of our things will be packed  by the end of August.

We had a great opportunity to Skype with the Pacific Area Education Coordinators a couple of weeks ago. It was wonderful learn more about the way things work so we can prepare to actually be of some help when we arrive in Australia. We were excited to learn more about the Educational Initiative which has been put in place by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as it relates to the Self -Reliance program. The lives of so many people can be be blessed as these programs teach them to value themselves and improve their circumstances  as they develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.

We also took a time out for a family reunion. Seven of our 10 children and 27 of our 38 grandchildren were able to be with us. It is always a happy time for us when we can be around our family!

Now it is time to get back to work!